March 25, 2009

A walk through a c-section birth

I'm thinking of taking a picture of the hair. I'm starting to get used to it and not feel so self conscious about it. We'll sure is easier!!!

I thought I would share my c-section birth experiences. A friend of mine helped me see that vaginal birth has it's share of difficulties and dangers as well. It ain't all a piece of cake, which I never thought it was, but it just seems better.

Probably the only advantage to a cesarean is you can schedule in advance and you don't endure through hours of pain before the baby arrives. That's all I can think of that is better than a vaginal birth.

So, I will use my experience from my last birth, because the first one was an emergency and the second is a blur. First off, I had been planning a natural birth with a doctor. I went in on a Thursday at 39 weeks for my weekly check- nothing was happening labor wise yet, nor would the doctor do anything at all to help me out (as in stripping membranes or something). Earlier that week I had some acupuncture done on the labor points, been loading up on red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, fresh pineapple (I heard something in it would help) and included my husband in some uh, natural labor inducers, he, he. So the doctor said that she was going to be out of town the week of my due date- yeah, thanks!- and that I was only allowed to go to 40 weeks. If I didn't go into labor, then it would be a c-section with a doctor I didn't know or pay for.

So, she set me up. She guaranteed me a c-section even though she pretended to go along with a vbac. By then I was so tired of being pregnant, couldn't bear the thought of another week going by with no labor, and I just decided to do it the next day. So I wasn't really planning on another c-section. I ran to the store that night to buy some huge granny panties and other stuff, cleaned the house up, sanitized bottles and pacifiers in the dishwasher, arranged for the kids to go somewhere else, and packed bags.

I went to the hospital early in the morning, like by 7am. I checked in, waited, then got wheeled to a room- yes, like I couldn't walk. I put on the gown, they got me hooked to an IV and fetal monitors and we waited some more. I was getting nervous. The anesthesiologist came to meet me and talk, then my family showed up. Then it was 'time'- they shaved any hair where the incision would be, gave me a nasty drink to keep any nausea away, and put on the shower cap.

I walked to the OR and sat on a table about 2.5 feet wide, seemingly. Then began the process of injecting the spinal. Problem is, I have scoliosis, meaning my spine is curved, and this can take awhile and sometimes a few sticks. They finally got it and immediately I feel warm water running down my legs- not really, just how it feels. I start going numb. Then I am told to lay down. Yeah, now I am rapidly going numb, have a watermelon belly, and am trying to maneuver my body on this skinny table. Thanks.

So I lay down and my arms are out to the sides, like a cross. The anesthesiologist is by my head, talking and cracking jokes. I am focusing on my breathing, because the first time I couldn't feel myself breathe and freaked, so I am trying to remain calm. They wash my belly with some iodine stuff and a lady starts checking my numbness- she wets a cloth and touches my upper chest then touches my belly asking what I feel. The doctor comes in, pinches my skin with a tool, then asks if I felt it, of course not! Finally my husband is allowed to come in and they begin the surgery. They tell me what they are doing, and everything is fine. After about 10 minutes, here comes baby, they lift her up over the blue sheet and then take her to a warming table to clean her up. The doctor sutures me up and asks if she can remove some moles, lol. I say go for it. Then they bring the baby over to Matt and we look at her while I can hear the staple gun working. They take the baby out and dh follows while the doctor finishes up. I am then hoisted by several nurses to a bed, and then rolled to the recovery room. They give me the baby then and allow family to visit. After an hour I am taken to my room, getting hoisted yet again to another bed. This is where it gets rough.

The pain medication that is given to me cause the side effect of itching. So, as the numbness of the spinal wears off, the morphine takes effect. I feel kinda weird, but I try nursing the baby several times and see the people who came to wish us well. Finally, later in the afternoon/evening, my nose starts to itch. Then my face, then my neck, then my arms...So I ask for benadryl, then after awhile I start feeling pain, get more morphine, repeat itching cycle. I am also not allowed to eat food- just clear liquids and the electric blood pressure cuff is going on all through this. All through the night nurses come in to check vitals of me and baby, change my maxi pads and bedding, how humbling, check the catheter out put etc. What a night!

With the first two, they made me get up out of bed and sit in a chair for a minute 8hrs after surgery. I always about passed out- horrible. But I went to a different hospital the third time and I didn't get up until Sunday- three days after the surgery! Not much pain either! I also had to walk to halls and pass gas before I could eat solid food with the first two, but not with the third. Interesting. Maybe the doctor gave orders to let me do what I wanted since she knew she did me wrong...

The next couple of days are fine- usually after 24 hrs my nipples start hurting quite a bit, I am on vicodin and gas-x instead of the morphine and other stuff. Mostly I just sit, close my eyes, hold baby, try to change her and feed her, eat a little, and talk to visitors. The first baby I had loads of visitors- the next two, not many at all :( Then we get to go home. Before that I have to have a bowel movement, get up on my own and take a shower and remove the bandaging on my own! I finally get the IV out and this time I need the wheelchair. With little Sarah, she was smaller than the clothes I brought, so my husband ran to Target and picked out a beautiful preemie dress for her to go home in. We came home, had some visitors, and tried to get adjusted. I obviously pushed myself too hard and went too long without pain medication, because by evening, I was in AWFUL pain and could not feed baby. I was thankful I had sanitized bottles and had formula waiting, because my dear husband took over. I needed that night off for sleep and healing.

After that it's a slow process of healing. Things are pretty sore for at least a week, and I took pain medicine and gas meds for a week as well. No picking up toddlers, no baths, no bending!! I did actually cook a meal about 5-6 days after birth, but I was pushing it. One more thing, remember, I have staples in my skin that have to be removed. With my oldest, I stayed in the hospital 10 days, so they were removed 3-4 days after surgery, no pain. The next two I went home and had to come back to get them out. Well, for some reason, by then, my skin was growing to the staples. The nurse just takes them out in the office. I even took advil before hand and it STILL hurt enough for me to cry. OUCH!!!

So, now you all know why I so wanted to vbac. Thankfully the only complications I've ever had was the incision reopening in a small place a few weeks later. You also know why I could never stick with nursing- too much pain all over the body! I am seriously considering just pumping milk and bottle feeding this next one. I have to at least try- I do with every child, but when it comes down to it, I don't know how committed I will be. It is so important for baby though and much cheaper!

In writing this it does make me nervous at the thought of going through it all again. But, it is truly worth it, and it will be the last time ever!! This isn't the path I wanted, but it's what I got, so I must make the most of it. I know how to prepare for this birth and recovery and I am certain all will be well.

However, avoid surgery at all costs! It's expensive and it hurts!


Anonymous said...

I found that expressing and bottle feeding helped me after each Ceasarian.

*Michigan Momma* said...

Well, all I can say (quickly, 'cause I gotta run) is - for me, anyway - it got easier and easier each time. This time (#5) I had hardly ANY incision pain, although I could feel my uterus contracting more than the other ones. That's because they keep cutting the same spot over and over and it's pretty much permanently numb at this point.

I would also try to get your catheter/IV/etc out ASAP! The sooner you get all that out, the sooner you start to feel a bit more "normal". Ask for gas medicine and stool softeners (the quicker you get things moving "down there", the better!). Ask for pain meds whenever you feel pain. Even if they can't give you the same kind you have been using - they might be able to give you something less strong, just to tide you over to the next dose.

ALWAYS keep on top of your pain meds. Don't try to be a hero and tough it out!! Just take your meds and things will go more smoothly.

Ask for your staples to be taken out BEFORE you leave the hospital (day 3 or so) - my skin also grew around the staples one time - that hurt - yet this time, I felt NOTHING! (that whole numb-down-there thing again).

I'm praying for you and this whole c-section deal~